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    Basically, I want to apply for Japanese at Uni, but I'm completely unsure how to prepare for it. I have no idea what to write about for it in my personal statement (plus for an insurance grades-wise I also want to apply for a Spanish-Portuguese course so maybe not too specialist?), my work experience was completely irrelevant (arranged at the last minute because the other firm went bust - thank you credit crunch!) and there is basically no local society/courses/anything.

    I'm trying to take a bit of initiative with this, so I started trying to teach myself to read hiragana last week (I've got the basic 40 or so down) and I've ordered a Japanese DS game to help me learn how to write them correctly (don't want to do that bit off the internet as I know it can lead to bad habits).

    So, would anyone already doing Japanese at Uni have any tips for me, please?
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    You couldn't do worse than PMing Eien.
    I think she did a degree in Japanese from SOAS and is now studying in Tokyo.
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    In my personal statement, I mostly just said about how I got interested in Japan, what things to do with Japan I was interested in (eg. music, history, religion, anime, etc.), why I wanted to learn a language (ie. love of languages, career etc.), and then I threw in a paragraph on some other random interests to make myself look interesting *LOL* Basically, I just tried to sound as enthusiastic about the subject as possible. My work experience also had no relation whatsoever to Japanese, but that didn't matter, it seems.

    Hope that helps, even if just a little :o:
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    (Original post by theciz)
    Basically, I want to apply for Japanese at Uni, but I'm completely unsure how to prepare for it. I have no idea what to write about for it in my personal statement (plus for an insurance grades-wise I also want to apply for a Spanish-Portuguese course so maybe not too specialist?), my work experience was completely irrelevant (arranged at the last minute because the other firm went bust - thank you credit crunch!) and there is basically no local society/courses/anything.

    I'm trying to take a bit of initiative with this, so I started trying to teach myself to read hiragana last week (I've got the basic 40 or so down) and I've ordered a Japanese DS game to help me learn how to write them correctly (don't want to do that bit off the internet as I know it can lead to bad habits).

    So, would anyone already doing Japanese at Uni have any tips for me, please?
    From personal experience, I think the biggest reason people don't get accepted on the course can often be a PS without enough passion for the subject. Spanish and Portuguese seems to be something that is a lot lot different, so I really don't know why you have that down as an insurance. Its going to be really hard to fit that across into a ps without it being too generic and something that is not getting your passion for Japanese across.

    I mean you could probably stretch it if you had Chinese/Korean down - because that at least covers the same academic departments.

    Work experience related to Japan isn't necessary.
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    (Original post by guy_incognito)
    From personal experience, I think the biggest reason people don't get accepted on the course can often be a PS without enough passion for the subject. Spanish and Portuguese seems to be something that is a lot lot different, so I really don't know why you have that down as an insurance. Its going to be really hard to fit that across into a ps without it being too generic and something that is not getting your passion for Japanese across.

    I mean you could probably stretch it if you had Chinese/Korean down - because that at least covers the same academic departments.

    Work experience related to Japan isn't necessary.
    First of all, thanks to everyone who has replied!

    My problem, in general, is that I just love learning languages. When I was researching courses, I also had considered courses in French, Chinese, Russian and Italian, among others. I just decided Japanese would be the best as I'm also very into the culture (music, dramas, etc) as well as the language. I guess I could talk up those elements as well as my love for South American cinema?

    I'm relieved about the work experience thing; every PS guide I've seen mentioned it and mine was just so balls it wasn't worth mentioning!
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    (Original post by theciz)
    First of all, thanks to everyone who has replied!

    My problem, in general, is that I just love learning languages. When I was researching courses, I also had considered courses in French, Chinese, Russian and Italian, among others. I just decided Japanese would be the best as I'm also very into the culture (music, dramas, etc) as well as the language. I guess I could talk up those elements as well as my love for South American cinema?

    I'm relieved about the work experience thing; every PS guide I've seen mentioned it and mine was just so balls it wasn't worth mentioning!
    Yeah same with me. There is nothing wrong with briefly mentioning your other academic interests from other cultures. Obviously, not everyone who studies Japanese loves Japan and nothing else. I think if you are a bit worried about the degree focusing too much on Japan, keep in mind you can often take floaters in various languages. At Sheffield, its possible to take modules in Chinese and Korean. And next year I will be studying French in Japan at a Japanese university. LOL. :woo:

    But yeah, just try and make it sure that you get across your reason for studying Japanese and what you want to achieve from it. The people who read these PS are obviously very much interested in Japan and love it when people show an academic interest in it.
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    (Original post by theciz)
    So, would anyone already doing Japanese at Uni have any tips for me, please?
    In terms of actual Japanese learning:
    I'd suggest making sure you know hiragana and katakana properly and can remember them all. And stroke order is important so hopefully that game can help you. If you're really keen, think about learning some basic kanji, I don't know where you're going but we learned kana the first week, then 20 kanji a week for a while (then 25 a week.) Learning some easy ones really helped for me as there's usually lots of stuff going on in the first few weeks. (Ones like days of the week, numbers, etc.) If you know the textbook used you could always learn basic grammar too (but there are lots of resources online too.) If you do do all this you'll probably pick up a bit of elementary vocab too which can't be bad. :]
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    (Original post by fourr)
    In terms of actual Japanese learning:
    I'd suggest making sure you know hiragana and katakana properly and can remember them all. And stroke order is important so hopefully that game can help you. If you're really keen, think about learning some basic kanji, I don't know where you're going but we learned kana the first week, then 20 kanji a week for a while (then 25 a week.) Learning some easy ones really helped for me as there's usually lots of stuff going on in the first few weeks. (Ones like days of the week, numbers, etc.) If you know the textbook used you could always learn basic grammar too (but there are lots of resources online too.) If you do do all this you'll probably pick up a bit of elementary vocab too which can't be bad. :]
    The unis I was thinking of were Cambridge, Edinburgh, SOAS and Manchester. The Cambridge website specifically said to know the kana, so I just figured it would be handy for all the courses!

    I see you go to SOAS; what is your course like? It would be something I would be interested in. Also, I've heard completely different things about learning hangul; some people tell me it's pretty easy to learn, and then some say it's really difficult! What do you think?

    Sorry if I'm being annoying with all my questions.
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    Hmm.. well, tbh, I really meant to learn Hangul properly near the start of the holidays but I've been kinda lazy :/ Learning to write hangul is a bit like learning kana for me, but it's a bit more logical in terms of similar sounds (e.g. an "a" sound and "ya" look similar.) But phonetically I find it hard because some of them are not really describable in English (or so it seems) and those are the sounds/symbols I find hardest to learn cuz I don't want to remember them by saying them incorrectly. Does this make sense? :P I can remember and write the ones which are simple to pronounce. Well anyway, I'm pretty sure I haven't concentrated enough because hangul was invented so that clever people could learn it in a morning. Also, I've been doing kanji a lot because.. I like it :] I think I just need to sit down one day and write it out whilst listening to some Korean.

    Japanese and Korean: You don't actually learn any Korean language in the first year (it's a minor subject.) Overall, I think this is quite wise because Japanese is intense. But now I feel like I've got a system worked out for Japanese, and afaik the main bulk of the grammar is learnt in year 1. You've got the foundations anyway. I think it would have been harder to learn both from scratch simultaneously. So in year 1 you take Korean history instead (this was interesting.. I liked it more than Japanese history :P) Anyway, next year I only have language classes so no essays or trying to read a whole book at exam time, yay.
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    Could you not just split your ps - a third for spanish, third for Japanese and third for general/interests/work experience etc.?

    I applied to Edinburgh just for German but my ps was divided as above ^ because I applied for German and Chinese everywhere else but I still got an offer. It may be slightly different because of the scottish system though as you take outside subjects anyway (it would have been pretty obvious that I intended to take Chinese) but the same idea might work for English unis. As far as they know, you may just be intending to take a couple of modules in the other language or something similar?

    As far as work experience goes, I think you should try to include it anyway. Write down a couple of notes about what you did, what skills you developed and who you worked with and normally there's something that can be taken out of it to be relevant.
 
 
 
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